People often think of the study of theology as the exclusive domain of those pursuing a calling in Ministry. While many students of theology do end up in ministry, there are many other careers where qualifications in Theology are sought after. By blending your theological qualifications with other disciplines, you enter the job market with a unique set of skills that can often lead to surprising and rewarding careers.
More than ever, religious education is important work, impacting not just young individual lives but society as a whole. And just like in public schools, children in private, religious-based schools require compassionate and qualified staff to help them learn. Jobs include teaching or coordinating religious education curriculum in schools. To teach religious education, you will need to supplement your theological qualifications with teaching certification.
For some, the pursuit of research and biblical knowledge calls them to the path of the career academic. University researchers and lecturers usually hold a Masters degree or Doctorate in Theology and/or Ministry. Along with teaching, Academics are also expected to write and publish papers in religious journals or discuss them at conferences as well.
Many libraries and learning institutions the world over need archivists to make sense of the precious documents they hold in their hands. When many of us think “Archives”, we think musty old rooms of relics, diaries, administrivia, and a life of solitude with them. However, archiving work is equal parts about “loving the stuff” and “helping people find the useful stuff”. Archivists often describe themselves as sharer, teacher, curator, historian, researcher, and preserver rolled into one. With our world history infused with so much of God and religion, specialisation in branches of theology will help you in this field.
Journalists each have different “beats” or specialisations — and religion is one of them. If you are good at finding stories and making them come alive, perhaps consider working for newspapers, magazines, television stations, or even as a self-employed journalistic blogger. Assignments can range from being the religion reporter for an online news channel to writing a weekly column for a local newspaper. In a society that is increasingly turning towards secularism to frame the answers, providing a balanced and knowledgeable theological voice can be a challenging but worthy calling.
Social work is a values-based profession and requires a strong commitment to social justice and human rights. Because theology so often emphasises helping others (especially in practical theology), many of our graduates often turn to social work — if they are not in the space already —to help others live better lives. Supporting the frontline of social work is the administrative support that can include volunteer recruitment and fundraising — jobs often requiring excellent communication and engagement skills, as well as excellent teamwork and coordination. Those who possess Theology qualifications, are excellent communicators, and have a true passion for a certain cause can excel in these roles.
As Oxford’s Dr. William Wood, a University Lecturer in Philosophical Theology, once put it, “theology is the closest thing we have at the moment to the kind of general study of all aspects of human culture that was once very common but is now quite rare.” A good theologian, he says, “has to be a historian, a philosopher, a linguist, a skillful interpreter of texts both ancient and modern, and probably many other things besides.” Studying theology thus equips you with a broad range of analytical and practical skills that are necessary for the workplace.